Claire Jaeger, chair of Friends of Dacres Wood, tells us about Dacres Wood and their plans for 2013.
This has been an exciting time for the residents of Dacres Road and the surrounding area. Unbeknownst to some there is a small, little known nature reserve hidden between Dacres Road and the railway. I say small but that does not mean uninteresting as any visitor will tell you.
Back in September 2012 an initial meeting was called by the council to see what local residents and interested parties wanted to do about the area. It was decided a "Friends of " group should be created. So with that in mind several local people decided to join forces to open the nature reserve more frequently and show the world what's there.
Since the meeting the Friends of Dacres Wood Nature reserve (in conjunction with the Forest Hill Society and Friends of Mayow Park) have hosted an open day and a bring and take day. Both events have been very well attended and the interest shown by visitors has shown how necessary it has been to open the reserve.
Towards the end of 2012 the project was awarded £2000 by Lewisham Council at the Perry Vale Assembly. The money has been awarded to support the on-going pond works in the reserve.
Interestingly, the two ponds in the reserve are remnants of the Croydon Canal. When the railway was built by the Croydon railway company this little stretch of water was left behind, and one of these was where the young Ernest Shackleton played with friends. Unfortunately, in the last few years it has become overgrown and so the awarded money will be used to remove some of the overgrowth.
Later this year, along with removing pond weed, more open days will be organised and in conjunction with Lewisham Council, volunteer aided maintenance of the vegetation. Our website dacreswood.org.uk keeps all of us up to date as to what is going on and if anyone else would like to get involved please leave a comment on the website.
The next event at Dacres Wood Nature Reserve will be an open day to explore this hidden treasure of Forest Hill on Saturday 16th March. There will be a meeting of the Friends group at 11am, and the nature reserve will be open from noon.